Archive for the ‘True Grit’ Category

True Grit – review

True Grit – viewed 12/22/10

PhotobucketThe Coen brothers are back once again, right around Oscar season of course, with their version of the 1969 classic John Wayne western, based off the novel of the same name.  John Wayne won on Oscar, his only Oscar actually, for his portrayal of one eyed Marshall, Rooster Cogburn.  Recent addition to the Oscar family, Jeff Bridges, takes over the role reuniting with the Coen brothers once again for the first time since his truly great role as ‘The Dude’ in The Big Lebowski.

Newcomer Hailee Steinfield plays Mattie Ross, a 14 year girl who’s father was shot dead by Tom Chaney a drifter and low life played by Josh Brolin.  Mattie is looking for a US Marshall that will bring Chaney to justice, and she will not take no for an answer.  This is her journey, and she will not stop until she sees Chaney at the end of a rope.

Matt Damon plays Texas Ranger LeBouf who is also hunting down Chaney for the murder of a Texas state senator.  He and Rooster decide to join forces in the capture of Chaney and bring him back to Texas for the reward money.  Mattie, who tags along wants Chaney hung for the murder of her father in her hometown though.  She wants him to know why he is dying.

LeBouf and Rooster step on each others toes through the entire movie getting on each others nerves and acting like amateur hour jackass’s.  Mattie has to step in to keep the peace during the entire course of the film which is spent on the road, and at campsites, all while meeting strange and bizarre characters along the way like Bear Man.  He’s some sort of voodoo doctor, medicine man that wears an entire bear skin, and makes no sense at all.   The film plays out like a road movie more than your average western film, that is supposedly closer to the book than the original film.

The performances in the film, especially from Matt Damon are sporadic, and forced at every turn.  It’s as if they can’t figure out how to play their characters, or what angle to take with them.  Bridges is drunk the entire film, and not in a good way (see Crazy Heart).  The lone good performance is a small one by Barry Pepper who plays an outlaw in Chaney’s gang of thugs.  I wonder if a lot of this has to do with the eccentric nature of the Coen brothers, and the source material for their films.   It’s not a Coen brothers film if it’s not weird!  Usually this works for them every time.  It’s part of their style and filmmaking process, but it only works if they’re on point together at every turn.  One little slip and it’s a cracked film.

There are a few gunfight scenes on horseback that save this from being a complete disaster, but that’s about all the film has to offer you.  I love the Coen brothers, and I’m always excited to hear they’re coming out with a new film, and I’m sure one of the few people out there that won’t praise everything they make just because it’s from them…cough cough…metacritic…cough.  The Coen brothers rarely miss, but this is right along side The Ladykillers as one of their worst.

Grade: D+